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Youth Empowerment Through Skilling

The PIVOT Program

The Youth Rising P.I.V.O.T. is a highly innovative, 6-month-long youth development program for teenagers aged 13-17 and young adults aged 18- 25. Through an ecosystem of vocational, social and service-learning opportunities, this program develops 5 critical developmental assets for youth, including:

  • Positive Identity
  • Interpersonal Competence
  • Positive Values
  • Service to Others
  • Constructive Use of Time

The program offers vocational and business skills to young people, to become employable or start their own businesses. Under one roof, the youth learn a market-viable vocational skill, access youth health services, build business ideas and refine their employability skills.

The PIVOT program consists of a three-pronged success curriculum that includes:

  • Vocational Skill Building,
  • Economic Opportunities, and
  • Life Skills Building.

In this curriculum, young people undergo a 6-month training program that consists of building skills in a vocational course of their choosing. Youth Rising is accredited and licensed as a non-formal vocational training institution, and so, skills training follows the national curriculum from the Directorate of Industrial Training, Ministry of Education and Sports.

Currently we offer the following programs: Digital Literacy, Agribusiness, Fashion & Design, Carpentry, Electronics, Auto repair, Art and Crafting.

I Made The Best Decision

Bakamaze Hilda

My name is Bakamaze Hilda, a 19 year old, who in 2017 graduated from high school at Golden College in Kamuli district, eastern Uganda. I am also a 2018 graduate of the Fashion and Design program at Youth Rising. In 2017, I finished my Ordinary Level school but didn’t want to continue to A Level. This was because of several challenges including inadequate resources.

I decided to travel to Kampala to stay with my aunt in Kawempe during my vacation while I figure out what to do next. In my heart, I wanted to join a vocational school and my dream career was to become a fashion designer.

As I started out making friends in Kawempe, I met Tina a former beauty and cosmetology student who told me about Youth Rising. I invited her to our home tell my aunt more about the organization, and after the encounter, my aunt gave me a green light and asked me to go and register. I was successfully admitted to the Fashion and Design program where I specialized in dresses and skirt making.

I must say that I had a great time at Youth Rising. It was not only the fashion and design classes that were very practical and engaging but also the opportunity I had to mingle with other students, learn life skills, participate in business classes, learn about human rights and the law and finally sexual reproductive health, where I learnt so much about how to live a healthy sexual life.

During the holidays I travelled back to Kamuli and when I spoke to my former classmates (who were currently attending A Level) about my studies at Youth Rising, they hurled insults at me and said vocational education was for failures. I decided to keep my head high because through my trainings at Youth Rising, I knew this wasn’t true, and I had already started seeing opportunities lined up for me even when I was still in learning. And i believe that this mentality that my friends have come from society and parents that have told them that the university is the only path to a good career and success in life.

This stigma is unfortunate because it’s simply not true. It takes a great deal of intelligence to safely wire a house and not electrocute yourself in the process or to operate a sewing machine and make clothing. I think not everyone wants to go to a university. Some people like me, simply don’t want to spend that much time in school, while others are ready to change careers and try something new.

Some people love working with their hands and would feel bad sitting behind a desk all day. I love when my hands produce a design.

During my stay as a student at Youth Rising, I made more friends and participated in many activities including business and law classes which boosted my confidence. Upon finishing my course, I managed to connect with a friend Nyombi Uthman who was in the electronics class and I asked him if he knew of any job leads. He put me in touch with my Naluyima Fashiha a classmate I had lost contact with after graduation.

Fashiha had already started working at KWERA Limited and when she heard it was me on calling, she immediately asked me if I was looking for a job opportunity, to which I said yes. She introduced me to her manager who invited me for an interview. I went armed with all my education credentials, and I aced the practical interview I was given.

I am now employed at KWERA, one of Uganda’s biggest textile companies through a friend I met, studied and got connected to at Youth Rising. Today I have used one of the extra 2 years I would have spent in high school to learn a skill that I am truly passionate about, I am already employed and earning an income. This is indeed one of the best decisions I have ever made.